Author Ta-Nehisi Coates attended a school board meeting in South Carolina to support a high school teacher who was told to stop using his book “Between the World and Me” in her advanced English class.
What We Know:
- The book is a letter to Coates’ teenage son about his perceptions of the feelings and circumstances of being Black in America.
- The teacher, Mary Wood, had taught the lesson before, but after some students complained that it made them feel “uncomfortable” and “ashamed to be Caucasian,” the books were taken up and the assignment ended.
- The school district is concerned that the lesson could run afoul of a rule in the South Carolina budget banning schools from using state money to teach that anyone is consciously or unconsciously racist simply by their race and preventing lessons from making anyone feel discomfort, guilt or anguish based on their race.
- Coates sat next to Wood during the meeting, but neither spoke publicly.
The school board’s decision to remove Coates’ book from the classroom has sparked a debate about the role of race in education. Some people believe that the book is an important tool for teaching students about racism and its impact on American society, while others believe that it is too controversial and could make some students feel uncomfortable.
The school board has not yet made a decision about whether to reinstate the book, and the debate is likely to continue.
EDITORIAL NOTE: The controversy surrounding Coates’ book and its use in the classroom highlights the ongoing censorship that exists in our educational system. Throughout the history of America, books that have been deemed “controversial” by certain groups or individuals are banned from classrooms or libraries, depriving students from accessing important educational material. As we continue forward, we find these same groups and now indoctrinated students thwarting progress and deliberately damaging genuine learning experiences in our public square.